Business Briefs – September 29, 2016

OPEC Deal Shows Cartel’s Resolve — and Desperation

ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) – OPEC’s unexpected agreement to trim production shows the cartel still has the resolve — and even desperation — to try to guide oil prices higher. But don’t expect triple-digit crude anytime soon.

Ministers from the oil cartel reached a preliminary deal to cut production for the first time since the global financial crisis eight years ago. The reduction was modest — to between 32.5 million and 33 million barrels per day from just below current levels of around 33.2 million. Still, THE decision came as something of a surprise — expectations were that once again the regional rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran would create a stalemate — and sent oil prices upward.

U.S. Economy Grew at 1.4 Percent Rate in Spring

WASHINGTON (AP) – The U.S. economy expanded at a slightly faster pace in the spring than previously reported, aided by new-found strength in business construction.

The Commerce Department said Thursday the gross domestic product, the broadest measure of the economy, expanded at an annual pace of 1.4 percent in the April-June quarter. That is up from a previous estimate of 1.1 percent growth. Much of the upward revision reflected an increase in spending on structures such as office buildings.

The modest second-quarter gain followed weaker readings of 0.8 percent GDP growth in the first quarter and 0.9 percent in the final three months of last year.

U.S. Pending Home Sales Slump in August

WASHINGTON (AP) — Fewer Americans signed contracts to buy homes in August, as a shortage of properties for sale is weighing on the market.

The National Association of Realtors said Thursday its seasonally adjusted pending home sales index fell 2.4 percent last month to 108.5, its lowest reading since January. The number of signed contracts slumped sharply in the South, the nation’s largest housing market. But pending sales improved in the Northeast, Midwest and West.

Home purchases and prices have risen much of this year but a slowdown surfaced in August as a lack of inventory has hurt the market.